Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jill Motschenbacher to the Iowa Learning Farms team. Jill will be helping us with cover crop research as well as participating in outreach and education.
We asked Jill to introduce herself and here is what she wrote:
I was born and raised in the Nashville, Tennessee area. When I was 17, I enlisted in the United States Navy for four years following high school graduation. During this time, I worked as an Interior Communications Electrician and was stationed aboard the USS Sacramento (AOE-1), which was an oiler/ammunition/supply ship that was homeported in Bremerton, Washington. Between the years of 1996 to 2000, I was deployed to the Persian Gulf two times, which also included port visits to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and Australia.
After my military service was finished, I completed a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Agribusiness with a minor in Environmental Science and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in the Administration of Higher Education with a minor in Agricultural Education at Middle Tennessee State University. In December 2012, I completed a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Soil Physics within the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas. My dissertation research focused on sustainable agricultural cropping systems, soil physical properties, plant-available soil nutrient cycling, soil organic matter dynamics, ecosystem modeling, and carbon and nitrogen sequestration over time in rice-based crop rotations with corn, soybean, and winter wheat using different management practices.
In addition to the passion I have for my academic work, I also have a great personal and professional interest in domestic and international culture and relations. During my Ph.D. program, I studied at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Bãnos, Philippines, and I recently completed a CNFA/USAID outreach trip in Wang’uru, Central Province, Kenya for a month to initiate a plan for the mechanization of rice production in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme. My personal hobbies include running, hiking, photography, eating, traveling, and being with family and friends. In essence, I am a very adaptable “people person” in addition to a Soil Physicist and Agricultural/Environmental Scientist, so establishing relationships that involve personal communication, scientific and applied applications, political policy, and cultural awareness is my overall career goal and ideal environment.
Jill told me that she is eager to learn more about Iowa agriculture and meet folks from across the state. We think she has a lot to offer the Iowa Learning Farms team!